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He won't talk to me because all the problems are in my imagination.

(27 Posts)
Fortywells Wed 30-Oct-13 21:57:21

How dysfunctional is this relationship? DH likes a drink, anything between 2 or 3 litres of strong cider is his tipple of choice 4 - 5 nights a week. A mixture of nagging and begging got him to cut down a bit back when we were trying to conceive a child, but 6 years on from IVF I'm still really angry that he was so unsupportive. The trouble is that I have find the slurring, stumbling stinking of cider DH very unsexy, especially the drunk groping and occasionally swearing at me and our relationship has inevitably suffered. If we had a spare room I would have been sleeping in it years ago, but have had to make do with giving him the cold shoulder every night. There is resentment on both sides, but occasionally there is a ray of light. Like last weekend we went to a party (we almost never go out together) and actually had some (rubbish) sex when got home, he was drunk, I drove. We agreed we needed to communicate better, have better sex, sort our lives out etc. The trouble is I always fall for this kind of talk and wake up full of hope only to find he has either forgotten or doesn't think it's him that needs to change. I tried to talk to him the next day and he blanked me completely so I lost my temper. I've tried twice more but he refuses to talk because there is apparently nothing to talk about and I am just being unreasonable. This is a pattern we have repeated many times before. Am I just being naïve thinking anything is ever going to get better?

HowardTJMoon Fri 01-Nov-13 16:44:26

You're in a relationship with someone who almost certainly is an alcoholic. A litre of strong cider is 7-8 units of alcohol. So say he does two litres a night, five nights a week, that's a minimum of 70 units a week. It's entirely possible he's doing more like 100 units a week. For reference, any more than 35 units a week is generally considered to be a big flashing warning sign of an alcohol problem.

Another important thing to consider is this; he drinks two litres of cider. That's (say) 15 units. He goes to sleep for (say) eight hours. The liver deals with, on average, a unit of alcohol an hour. So when he wakes up he's still half-pissed. Does he drive? Because if he's breathalysed in the morning there's a very good chance he'd fail.

Alcohol problems tend to get worse over time. The mental and physical health problems associated with regular heavy drinking add up. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a lot of people can more-or-less keep it together despite their heavy drinking until they hit their forties at which point the combination of increasing drinking and decreasing health can make the shit hit the fan in very short order. How old is he?

There is absolutely no point whatsoever in having deep and meaningful conversations about your relationship with him when he's been drinking. You're wasting your time and breath. You might as well be talking to the cat.

To be honest there's precious little point talking to him about his drinking at all. You can't talk an alcoholic into stopping drinking until they reach the point where they've decided that they want to do something about it.

But don't think that your children aren't aware that there is a problem. They may not know that it's to do with their dad's drinking but they will know that, sometimes, you could cut the tension in the house with a knife. And as they get older they'll see, and hear, more and more.

I thought that my children weren't being affected by my ex's drinking. I was wrong. It was only when we split up and my children emerged from the shells I didn't even know they were hiding in that I realised just how much they had been affected. Our home is now calmer, my children are happier and more secure, and my ex is still a piss-artist.

Being a single parent can be tough and lonely but I guarantee you that raising kids with an alcoholic was far far tougher and a thousand times more lonely.

Your husband's drinking is entirely his own responsibility. You didn't cause his alcoholism, you can't cure it, and you can't control it for him. All you can do is decide if you want to be in in a relationship with someone for whom alcohol comes first place and everything else comes a very distant second place.

Jan45 Fri 01-Nov-13 13:15:45

Just give him the ultimatum, that way he has a choice. Honestly, if your best high is driving whilst he's drunk then having rubbish sex with him, you're missing out on a more equal and respectful relationship with someone else.

You live in hope probably because you still love him and you want things to work out. You are the strong one, he is the weak one, make a stand, take the chance, be brave, you've not much to lose apart from some extra money, you and the kids won't be in poverty, they're his two so he has to provide for them no matter where they live.

Fortywells Fri 01-Nov-13 08:55:59

So weird seeing other people's take on our relationship, but no bad thing. The more I think about it the more I see the really obvious warning signs I've been climbing over. In the past (BC) I couldn't stand up to him because I was depressed and when we first got together I drank heavily too, although I used to worry about my drinking. I've realised how much he has done over the years to encourage me to drink too. The big question is are the kids better off in a financially stable environment with parents who pretend to get on or in grinding poverty, spending all their time in childcare. They probably are affected by the situation but what they have really started noticing is how much bloody richer than us all their friends are.

stripeylion3 Fri 01-Nov-13 06:01:56

jkk, you are on it!

Littlefish Thu 31-Oct-13 22:24:25

I agree with jkklpu about the effect on your children.

jkklpu Thu 31-Oct-13 22:16:12

This is very sad, OP. You say your children aren't affected because he doesn't start drinking until they're in bed. Sorry, but this is dreamland: of course they are affected sine he could never function properly with that amount of alcohol, you say he's moody and he makes you utterly miserable. If that's what not affecting them looks like, then how bad does it need to get?

As others have said, you need to work out where you go from here without him.

Fortywells Thu 31-Oct-13 20:45:26

Jan 45 - You have nailed it, I need to stop thinking he'll change,

Bluestocking Thu 31-Oct-13 20:43:37

What a sad OP. Your "ray of light" is going to a party together, where he gets drunk so you drive home, after which you have some rubbish sex. If that's a high point, I shudder to think what your "normal" is like. You and your DC deserve to live a happy life without having to accommodate a shambling, abusive drunk.

Fortywells Thu 31-Oct-13 20:34:42

So sorry to hear that lovemenot. If it were just me I would definitely leave right now. When the children were toddlers my DC totally hero worshipped his Dad and I felt I could never split them up. He does not drink until they are in bed so they are not affected - yet. But he can be very moody and I hate to think of him talking to them one day the way he sometimes talks to me. Trouble is I fear financial insecurity - I had happy childhood but teenage years were blighted by my parents getting into debt. I have been a SAHM & we've struggled on his wage, but I've just got a job and it's such a massive relief not to be constantly worrying about money.

lovemenot Thu 31-Oct-13 18:04:25

My dh will go to the pub and have 4-5 pints or stay in and have 4-6 cans about 4 or 5 times a week. Then he will fall asleep. I might as well be single at this stage.

But, aside from the habitual drinking, he will, like your dh, decide that all arguments are my fault, my issue, my game. He never apologises, he is never responsible for the venom and the insults, and he will never address the problem.

So no, yours won't change, just like mine won't. Time for you to plan the rest of YOUR life.

CogitoEerilySpooky Thu 31-Oct-13 16:44:24

You're naive if you think an alcoholic who doesn't think he has a problem is ever going to change. That he gave up for a few weeks once is really not relevant.

JoinYourPlayfuckers Thu 31-Oct-13 14:52:17

He's an alcoholic.

He won't talk to you because he has a serious drink problem and he doesn't want to deal with it.

Jan45 Thu 31-Oct-13 14:49:53

There is nothing worse than having your needs and wants ignored or told it's in your head, it's a sure way to ruin a relationship. He isn't taking you seriously, he just thinks you are a nag and are over reacting, it's not really about what he thinks anymore, it should be about what you think you want to do about it.

I'm afraid you either suck it up or do something about it, i.e., you tell him you want to separate but actually mean it this time, otherwise it's more of the same.

meditrina Wed 30-Oct-13 23:58:55

"He won't talk to me because all the problems are in my imagination."

I think you start by rephrasing that. "He won't talk to me because all the problems are in my head" - yes, they're called your opinions, they are valid, they are well-founded and you are utterly right to hold them. The level of drinking you describe is way beyond what is healthy (literally and figuratively) and brings constant low-level misery plus a selection of worse incidents. If he doesn't imagine this is a problem, you cannot make him do so. But that doesn't mean your view of the situation is wrong or less important.

So the question then becomes, what are you going to do about it? You say you've already thought about leaving him - is that a recognition that he isn't going to change? And that really, the only way to a satisfactory future for you and your DC is without an erratic, inconsiderate heavy drinker? For if it is dawning on you that it is close to the end of the road, perhaps it is time to start thinking about what life could be like without him and making plans for it.

HopeClearwater Wed 30-Oct-13 23:40:51

Actually apart from the ivf I could have written your post. Nothing in my life changed until I threw out my husband. He never thought I would do that, but I had to do it for my dc's safety and our sanity. I could not go on the way I was.

Pure facts... 2-3 litres of strong cider has maybe 12 (2 litres times 6 units per litre), maybe 27 (3 litres times 9 units per litre) units of alcohol. 24 per day means he is an alcoholic. Medically, because he is never sober at that point. In either case, he is very unhealthy. Is is the super strength?

If you have 6yo twins, how is he with them? Because the answer probably lies between emotionally absent and abusive. Sorry sad

HopeClearwater Wed 30-Oct-13 23:37:01

He's an alcoholic, sorry. It doesn't mean they can't stop drinking. They can, for a limited time. He did it before the birth of your twins because he knew it wasn't for ever.
Try Al-Anon for support and to understand alcoholism better. Read some of the other threads on here about living with an alcoholic.
Good luck.

Fortywells Wed 30-Oct-13 23:26:48

Lonecat the blame thing is sounding very familiar. I'm always cast as the villain for not wanting to settle for a life of low level misery only made bearable by drink, in fact I've spent years feeling like it WAS my fault but am beginning to wake up now.
Thank you all for your support.

He has a serious problem with drink (how is he even able to function on that amount of alcohol? I'd be dead), and he won't change as long as he has no reason to.

You can't change him. You can only change yourself. Stay or go - up to you. But don't expect for one minute that anything will ever be different.

Lweji Portugal Wed 30-Oct-13 23:15:12

You haven't screwed up, Fourty. He has. <sad smile>

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 30-Oct-13 23:12:06

This was my life, then one day he woke up and decided there were huge problems that meant he should have an affairshock.
He is no longer my husband, it is still all my fault and he is in no way to blameangry.
No advice, but from my experience you can't change them.

Fortywells Wed 30-Oct-13 23:04:29

He stopped drinking for 5 weeks before my due date. We had twins in the end and thought they would come early. At the time I was afraid he would let me down but he seemed to do it easily - maybe that's why I still hope. I don't know what to do about it. When the DCs were 6 months old I suggested he leave because he seemed so bloody miserable and he was really shocked. I've often thought about leaving but I'm basically scared of screwing up even worse than I already have.

Littlefish Wed 30-Oct-13 22:05:34

able to stop

Littlefish Wed 30-Oct-13 22:04:45

2 or 3 litres of cider 4 or 5 nights a week isn't just 'liking a drink'. Your DH has a drink problem and may well be an alcoholic. is he a le to stop drinking for any length of time?

I suggest you contact al-anon for your own support.

Until your DH wants to stop drinking, things are not going to get better.

Good luck.

Lweji Portugal Wed 30-Oct-13 22:03:21

Yes, you are naive. Sorry. sad

He doesn't feel the need to change because he knows you'll stick around, you'll suggest talking and working at it, but he is the one having to change and he isn't.

You cannot make him change, because he has to want it, but you can change how you address this relationship

What are you going to do about it?

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